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Year-ender list: Things to keep in mind

It’s that time of the year again —twenty-six days before Christmas.

Every year, I look forward to the holiday season — when we have to decorate our houses, set up Christmas trees, hang lights around the house, and buy gifts for our loved ones. We prepare the long list of family members, friends, godsons, and goddaughters, so no one will be forgotten. As early as now, many, of us have been preparing for the upcoming holidays.

Before we get too excited about the much-awaited Christmas and year-end parties, we must not forget that this time of the year is also for preparing year-end reports and annual updates. In the same way we prepare our Christmas gift list so no one will be forgotten, let us begin making our list of to-do’s and filing requirements as early as now so nothing will be missed. We all want a hassle-free year-end closing.

So, what’s on your list:

• Annualization and refund of excess withholding on compensation — Any deficiency must be deducted from the December pay. The excess withholding tax on the annual compensation of the employees at yearend should be refunded by Jan. 25, 2018.

• Preparation and submission of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Form 1604CF and 1604E (Annual information return of income taxes withheld.)  — This is also a good time to evaluate if expenses have been properly subjected to withholding tax and implement any corrections, if necessary.

• Registration of books of account — This includes the submission of computerized books of account and permanently bound computer-generated/loose-leaf books of account used in the taxable year 2017, due on Jan. 30, 2018.

• Submission of inventory list — Taxpayers are required to file an inventory list of finished goods, work in progress, raw materials, supplies, and stock-in-trade not later than Jan. 30, 2018. Be reminded of the format prescribed in Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 57-2015.

• Submission of list of regular suppliers by large taxpayers — This semestral summary list of regular suppliers of goods and/or services must be submitted to the Large Taxpayers Assistance Division/Large Taxpayer District Office by Jan. 31, 2018.

• Renewal of business registration with BIR — An annual registration fee of P500 should be paid on or before Jan. 31, 2018.

• Distribution and submission of BIR form 2316 (Certificates of Compensation payment/tax withheld) — All employees, including those who qualify for substituted filing or as minimum wage earners, must be provided with a copy of their BIR Form 2316. If you have many employees and you would like to use a digital signature, approval must be secured from the BIR.

Taxpayers with FY ending on Aug. 31, 2017, are required to submit and file to the BIR the Annual Income Tax Return (ITR) and the Audited Financial Statements due on Dec. 15, 2017.

The renewal of business permits with the local government unit (LGU) includes, but is not limited to, payment of local business tax, mayor’s permit fee, barangay clearance, community tax certificate, fire safety certificate and sanitary fee, garbage fee, engineering fees, and other charges imposed by the LGU.

Before the year ends, we anticipate the approval of the House of Representatives and Senate version of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Bill.

We expect that beginning January 2018, there will be changes to the computations of tax payments, especially on the withholding of employees’ compensation.

With this, we may have to prepare and educate our finance teams or human resources professionals who are responsible for payroll processing and reporting requirements. There will be changes in the classification of income into exempt or taxable income. Tax exemptions, deductions, or credits, as well as the tax rates for compensation income earners, will change. A new withholding tax table should be issued soon. There will be a need to change systems and procedures, whether they are manually done or through a computerized system.

The increase in VAT exemption threshold to P3 million has been proposed by both the House and the Senate. For small businesses who are on the margins, there is an opportunity to evaluate whether you would like to continue as a VAT-registered entity or apply for deregistration from the VAT. This means you will just pay the 3% percentage tax monthly.

For individuals in business who are within the VAT threshold, you may also have to evaluate and decide on the income tax regime that would be best for you. The options include the 8% tax on gross revenue and the graduated rates on net income, which may be computed based on itemized or optional standard deduction.

I am sure big businesses in the petroleum, automobile, and beverage industries have long planned for the proposed changes in the excise tax and the new tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. As consumers, too, the impact on our costs may require a change in our purchasing or consumption decisions.

As the holiday season draws near, it is important to have everything in place to ensure that no detail is left undone.

End the year right, as we hope to begin the new year with a bang.

Maricel P. Katigbak is a manager of the Tax Advisory and Compliance of P&A Grant Thornton.


As published in Business World, dated 28 November, 2017